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War and Peace


Directed by Melody Shemtov

The story of activists who opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including their lives, the tactics they used, and the historical context.

Activists and activism have long been a part of the struggle for peace and justice in American politics and society. Activists have fought battles for civil rights, voter enfranchisement, collective bargaining, and an end to wars. While these struggles have sometimes yielded significant victories, and at other times resulted in disappointing defeats, activism has always been driven by ordinary people who give freely of their time and resources to try to bring about their visions for a new world. However, activists -- as well as how they fit into the political process -- are often overlooked or misunderstood by their fellow citizens.

The Activists: War, Peace, and Politics in the Streets brings to life the stories of ordinary people who tried to stop and end the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At best, activists had limited influence over the conduct of military policy after 9/11. Yet, their experiences in the antiwar movement helped them to learn about speaking out in the face of injustice. They inspired others to do the same during the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements. Indeed, democracy requires more than just one vote every four years. It requires continued pressure by citizens on their government. This is what democracy looks like!

Featuring leading activists and scholars including Tom Hayden, Leslie Cagan, Medea Benjamin, and Michael Heaney.

DVD / 2017 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 60 minutes

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Directed by Stephen Apkon, Andrew Young

A film about people born into conflict, sworn to be enemies, Palestinians and Israelis, who challenged their fate and joined together to say "enough."

In a world torn by conflict--in a place where the idea of peace has been abandoned--an energy of determined optimism emerges. When someone is willing to disturb the status quo and stand for the dream of a free and secure world, who will stand with them?

DISTURBING THE PEACE is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities. DISTURBING THE PEACE follows former enemy combatants--Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison--who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say "enough."

The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. While based in the Middle East, DISTURBING THE PEACE evokes universal themes relevant to us all and inspires us to become active participants in the creation of our world.

DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College Adults) / 86 minutes

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Directors: Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky

Lifta is the only Arab village abandoned in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been completely destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Its ruins are now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood. Discovering that his parents' Holocaust experiences may have distorted his views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Menachem - the filmmaker and an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn - sets out to establish a personal relationship with a Palestinian. He meets Yacoub, who was expelled from Lifta and now leads the struggle to save the haunting ruins of his village from Israeli plans to build luxury villas on the site. Learning that Lifta was once a place where Jews and Arabs got along, Menachem joins Yacoub's campaign in the hopes that Lifta can serve as a place of reflection and reconciliation. This sets up a climactic encounter between a Holocaust survivor and a Nakba refugee amidst the ruins of Lifta.

DVD / 2016 / 77 minutes

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Directed by Phillip Gara

An investigation into how war games, worst-case scenarios, complex systems, and networked media produce the very crises they seek to model, predict and report.

As the Cold War ends, a professor goes in search of an America without an enemy. Armed with a Hi8 video camera and inspired by the detective work of Walter Benjamin, he heads deep into the inner circles of the defense, entertainment and media industries, where he discovers a worst-case future being built from war games, video games, and language games.

Some thirty years later, a group of student filmmakers find the videotapes in a filing cabinet, along with a stack of old newspaper clippings, audio interviews and photographs. With the help of friends from the Global Media Project, the filmmaker produces an experimental documentary that goes back to the future, where they find the original maps for a new world order. An unexpected warning is found on the outermost edges of the maps: "Beware of Zombies!"

The result is PROJECT Z, a film that updates another warning, issued by President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address, about the emergence of a "military-industrial complex" and the consequences should "public policy be captured by a scientific and technological elite".

Combining rare footage from inside the war machine with corrosive commentary by leading critics of global violence, injustice, and inequality, the film challenges the living to write their own future before the walking dead conjure the final global event.

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 74 minutes

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Directed by David Evans

Two elderly men possess starkly contrasting attitudes towards their high-ranking Nazi fathers. A study of brutality, self-deception, guilt and the nature of justice.

A bracingly rigorous examination of inherited guilt and pain, WHAT OUR FATHERS DID explores the relationship between two men, each of whom are the children of very high-ranking Nazi officials but possess starkly contrasting attitudes toward their fathers. The film was written and is hosted by eminent human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, who became fascinated by its central figures, Niklas Frank and Horst von Wachter, while researching the Nuremberg trials.

The film comes to a climax when they travel to Lviv in Ukraine, where it becomes clear that Frank and von Wachter's Nazi fathers were responsible for the annihilation of Sands' own Jewish grandfather's entire family. WHAT OUR FATHERS DID is a compelling examination of brutality, self-deception, guilt and the nature of justice.

"This is both an intensely personal story for me as well as one with contemporary and universal relevance as anti-Semitism spreads across Europe and the wounds created in Ukraine during WWII can still be felt today." - Philippe Sands

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 92 minutes

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Directed by Debra Granik

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Debra Granik ("Winter's Bone") returns to SW Missouri for her first documentary, looking at the life of Vietnam vet, Ron "Stray Dog" Hall, and shattering some stereotypes.

Ron "Stray Dog" Hall lives in Southern Missouri where he owns and operates the At Ease RV Park. After years of living alone with his dogs, he is adjusting to life with his wife, Alicia, who is newly arrived from Mexico. Anchored by his small dogs and big bikes, Stray Dog seeks to strike a balance between his commitment to his family, neighbors, biker brotherhood, and fellow veterans. As part of the legacy of fighting in the Vietnam War, he wrestles with the everlasting puzzle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness.

With Stray Dog as our guide, we experience the restlessness of ex-warriors as he tries to make peace with what he can't change and weathers the incomprehension of those who have never been to war. Stray Dog navigates the pressures of everyday life including the economic survival of his grandchildren and the increasing poverty of his community. The arrival of Alicia's twin sons from Mexico throws into harsh relief the current state of opportunity that newcomers seek and that America can or cannot offer.

Stray Dog continues to tally the cost of war, bearing witness to the soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan: both the dead and the living. The questions of contemporary American life loom larger and thornier, leaving us to wonder what is next for Stray Dog and his blended, multi-ethnic family.

DVD / 2014 / (Grades 8-12, College, Adults) / 102 minutes

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Director: Zaza Urushadze

A story of awakening humanity in the midst of violence, told with intimacy and elegance by writer/director Zaza Urushadze, Tangerines is the spare, yet haunting tale of an older Estonian man who cares for two wounded soldiers from opposite sides of the 1990s-era war in Georgia. The film reveals compassion to be the ultimate response to centuries of political, cultural and ethnic conflict, a compelling and relevant message for contemporary audiences.

DVD (Estonian, Russian and Georgian, with English subtitles) / 2014 / 87 minutes

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Director: Dena Seidel

The War After is a powerful documentary featuring nine U.S. veterans transitioning from active duty to the unexpected challenges of civilian life. Join these brave and honest veterans as they share their surprising journeys into military service, the intense and at times harrowing experiences of active duty followed by the highs and lows of forging their own independent identities as university students.

At a time when thousands of U.S. service members are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, The War After is a timely and personal view of the American service experience, unlike any other military documentary.

DVD / 2014 / 70 minutes

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Directed by Dan Krauss

Soldier Adam Winfield attempted to thwart atrocities being committed by his platoon in Afghanistan but was then himself charged in one of the largest war crimes investigations in US history.

THE KILL TEAM goes behind closed doors to tell the riveting story of Specialist Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old infantryman in Afghanistan who attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing. Tragically, his father's pleas for help went unheeded. Once Adam's fellow soldiers got wind of what he'd done, they threatened to silence him -- permanently. Forced to choose between his conscience and his own survival, Adam found himself drawn into a moral abyss, faced with a split-second decision that would change his life forever.

With extraordinary access to the key individuals involved in the case -- including Adam, his passionately supportive parents, and his startlingly candid compatriots -- THE KILL TEAM is an intimate look at the personal stories so often lost inside the larger coverage of the longest war in US history.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 79 minutes

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Directed by Cary McClelland, Imran Babur (Co-Director)

Six bold Pakistanis from very different walks of life attempt to build a new future while struggling with their country's current crisis.

Six bold people navigate the dangerous waters of Pakistan's current crisis to discover a new tomorrow: a cricket star starts a progressive political party, a female journalist goes behind Taliban lines, an ex-mujahid seeks redemption, a trucker crosses dangerous territory to feed his family, a supermodel pushes feminism through fashion, and a subversive Sufi rocker uses music to heal.

Filmed by a team of Americans and Pakistanis over two years, WITHOUT SHEPHERDS cuts through alarmist media depictions of the country to celebrate the bravery of its people.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 145 minutes

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Directed by Judy Jackson

Gives voice to soldiers living with PTSD to help erase the stigma, examines the growing number of military suicides, and shows a successful group therapy program.

It's called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): the unending echo of battle etched in the brain which may affect up to 15% of soldiers by some estimates. It can destroy families, and can leave its sufferers unable to work, addiction addled and changed. All the soldiers who bravely speak out in this film are doing so because they want us to understand what they endure. They also want to reach out to others who are suffering in silence, and may feel the only way of ending their pain is ending their lives.

Senator and Lieutenant General (Ret.) Romeo Dallaire of Rwanda fame also plays a major role in this film. For many years he has heroically spoken out in public to declare that he suffered intensely from PTSD and had attempted suicide. And today he continues to campaign on behalf of all soldiers who suffer.

War in the Mind also investigates the issue of soldier suicide. Statistics from past and present wars tell the sad story of the magnitude of this problem. Currently more soldiers are dying from suicide than in battle. Families who have felt invisible, their sons' stories unacknowledged, tell of the impact of their loss.

Yet this film also discovers that with effective treatment suicide can be prevented. Our cameras gained unique access to a UBC/Royal Canadian Legion program which helps soldiers undo the wiring that military training has implanted in their brains, confront their pain, and learn to live again.

DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 64 minutes

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Directed by James Der Derian, David Udris and Michael Udris

Examines and questions the US military's new counterinsurgency initiative, 'Human Terrain Systems', under which social scientists are embedded with combat troops.

Human Terrain is two stories in one. The first exposes a new Pentagon effort to enlist the best and the brightest in a struggle for hearts and minds. Facing long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military initiates `Human Terrain Systems', a controversial program that seeks to make cultural awareness the centerpiece of the new counterinsurgency strategy. Designed to embed social scientists with combat troops, the program swiftly comes under attack as a misguided and unethical effort to gather intelligence and target enemies. Gaining rare access to wargames in the Mojave Desert and training exercises at Quantico and Fort Leavenworth, Human Terrain takes the viewer into the heart of the war machine and a shadowy collaboration between American academics and the military.

The other story is about a brilliant young scholar who leaves the university to join a Human Terrain team. After working as a humanitarian activist in the Western Sahara, Balkans, East Timor and elsewhere, and winning a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford, Michael Bhatia returns to Brown University to take up a visiting fellowship. In the course of conducting research on military cultural awareness, he is recruited by the Human Terrain program and eventually embeds with the 82nd Airborne in eastern Afghanistan. On the way to mediate an intertribal dispute, Bhatia is killed when his humvee hits a roadside bomb.

War becomes academic, academics go to war, and the personal tragically merges with the political, raising new questions about the ethics, effectiveness, and high costs of counterinsurgency.

DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 84 minutes

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Directed by John Pilger

John Pilger's powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war.

John Pilger's new film is a powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war. The War You Don't See traces the history of `embedded' and independent reporting from the carnage of World War I to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan. As weapons and propaganda are ever more sophisticated, the very nature of war has developed into an `electronic battlefield'. But who is the real enemy today?

DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 96 minutes

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Directed by Koji Masutani

A filmic examination of "virtual history." What would Kennedy have done in Vietnam if he had lived and been re-elected in 1964?

At the heart of Virtual JFK is the critical question: Does it matter who is President of the United States when it comes to issues of war and peace? It explores this question by investigating one of the most debated "what if" scenarios in the history of U.S. foreign policy: What would President John F. Kennedy have done in Vietnam if he had not been assassinated in 1963, and had he been re-elected in 1964? The film employs what Harvard historian Niall Ferguson calls "virtual history," assessing the plausibility of counterfactuals -- "what ifs" -- and the outcomes they might have produced.

Drawing on unusual archival footage from presidential libraries and the National Archives, along with newly deciphered audio tapes and other documentary evidence, the film draws our attention to six highly charged crises Kennedy faced in which many, or most, of his advisers counseled war: The Bay of Pigs, The Laos Crisis, the Berlin Crisis, the Showdown over Vietnam, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Withdrawal from Vietnam.

DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2008 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 80 minutes

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Directed by Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan

To kill or not to kill? For some the war is within.

From West Point grads to drill sergeants, from Abu Ghraib interrogators to low ranking reservist-mechanics, soldiers in the U.S. Army today reveal their deepest moral concerns about killing in war. Their message: every soldier wrestles with his conscience over killing. Although most decide to kill, some refuse.

SOLDIERS OF CONSCIENCE reveals that far more soldiers decide not to kill than we might expect. Made with official permission from the U.S. Army, SOLDIERS OF CONSCIENCE includes never-before-seen footage of basic training and the war in Iraq, with an original soundtrack from an Academy Award winner and composer. It is a realistic yet optimistic look at war, peace, and the power of the human conscience.

DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2007 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 54 minutes

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Directed by Judy Jackson

The first film about a crucial new commitment to the international rule of law: the International Criminal Court.

This is the first film about a crucial new commitment to the International Rule of Law-so victims will no long suffer without being heard, and war criminals will be punished.

Sixty years ago, with the Nuremberg charter, the world first said "Never Again." But these proved empty words for the victims of the Cold War years. The Superpowers couldn't agree on a universal code to punish war criminals. Tyrants ruled with impunity.

So the voices of their victims have echoed down through the decades, refusing to be silent, even in death. Joined by relatives who are unable to move on, until they know how their loved ones died. Different languages from different places, but with the same universal theme-begging to be delivered from the torment of living somewhere between life and death. Telling us that they will be able, finally, to rest, when we find out how they died. Insisting we listen.

It is because of these voices that International Justice has been reborn. In 2002 the International Criminal Court was established in The Hague. So far 100 countries have signed on to the Court's mandate. However, the world's remaining superpower, the United States is strongly opposed.

The new Court is already busy. It is investigating crimes against humanity in Darfur. It has issued indictments against leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda who abduct children and force them to fight. And a militia leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces charges of recruiting children as young as 8 to fight for him.

For the first time war criminals are being forced to listen. The victims' voices now haunt them, telling them they will not be silent until justice is done.

DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 66 minutes

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Directed by David Zeiger

The untold story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam.

In the 1960's an anti-war movement emerged that altered the course of history. This movement didn't take place on college campuses, but in barracks and on aircraft carriers. It flourished in army stockades, navy brigs and in the dingy towns that surround military bases. It penetrated elite military colleges like West Point. And it spread throughout the battlefields of Vietnam. It was a movement no one expected, least of all those in it. Hundreds went to prison and thousands into exile. And by 1971 it had, in the words of one colonel, infested the entire armed services. Yet today few people know about the GI movement against the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War has been the subject of hundreds of films, both fiction and non-fiction, but this story-the story of the rebellion of thousands of American soldiers against the war-has never been told in film. This is certainly not for lack of evidence. By the Pentagon's own figures, 503,926 "incidents of desertion" occurred between 1966 and 1971; officers were being "fragged"(killed with fragmentation grenades by their own troops) at an alarming rate; and by 1971 entire units were refusing to go into battle in unprecedented numbers. In the course of a few short years, over 200 underground newspapers were published by soldiers around the world; local and national antiwar GI organizations were joined by thousands; thousands more demonstrated against the war at every major base in the world in 1970 and 1971, including in Vietnam itself; stockades and federal prisons were filling up with soldiers jailed for their opposition to the war and the military.

Yet today, with hundreds of thousands of American GIs once again occupying countries on the other side of the world, these history-changing events have been erased from America's public memory.

SIR! NO SIR! aims to change all that. The film does four things: 1) Brings to life the history of the GI movement through the stories of those who were part of it; 2) Reveals the explosion of defiance that the movement gave birth to with never-before-seen archival material; 3) Explores the profound impact that movement had on the military and the war itself; and 4) Tells the story of how and why the GI Movement has been replaced with the myth of the spat-upon veteran.

DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 84 minutes

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A hard-hitting look at one of the many heinous crimes that came before South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

BETWEEN JOYCE AND REMEMBRANCE is a hard-hitting documentary about truth and reconciliation in South Africa, focusing on the family of the tortured, poisoned and murdered student activist, Siphiwo Mtimkulu.

Producer Mark Kaplan spent seven years documenting the lives of Joyce and Sikhumbuzo Mtimkulu, mother and son of the murdered young man, culminating in a meeting of the family with Siphiwo's killer, Gideon Nieuwoudt, a former colonel in the apartheid government's hated security police.

Kaplan reveals the fragility of South Africa's transition to democracy by exploring the feelings of the Mtimkulu family. The film picks up where the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission left off. It offers a deeper understanding of the difficulty of reconciling with torturers, knowing they will receive no punishment. A burial of the only physical remains of Siphiwo-a handful of his hair-is a pitiful closure. For Siphiwo's son, Sikhumbuzo, this may not be enough.

We begin to understand the magnitude of the sacrifice being attempted by this generation: to set aside the personal healing that might come from justice served now, in order to accelerate a transformation to a just society, free of recrimination, for the next generation.

DVD (Color) / 2004 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 68 minutes

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